Aug 30, 2016

Schoolhouse Review Crew: WAY Comes Home Kit

Health is not a required subject in our state. But since I see it as an important topic for kids to know, I was pleased to be given the WAY Comes Home Kit from HomeSchool Scholastics, an i4 Learning Company to review.

I knew there would be several components involved, but I was quite taken aback at the size of the box we received in the mail! And it was full of stuff! Daniel took one look at the contents and said, "Oh! A fun review!"

And it was. The program consists of a DVD, a Parent Guide, student journal, vocabulary cards, posters, and all the equipment you need to complete the activities. There is also an online component, but we were just asked to review the physical parts. Which was ok, because there were a lot of physical parts! A scale, soft balls, fingerprint pad, measuring tape, counters, glitter-germs, and even a working stethoscope! That was my kids' favorite part!

WAY Comes Home Kit

WAY Comes Home is geared for elementary aged kids: grades K to 5th. It is bright, colorful, and packed with a wide variety of engaging activities. There are five lessons or Modules titled:

Getting Started

Where Do You Begin?

Let's Get Active

The Nutrition WAY

Health -- It's Personal

Each Module is divided into three distinct sections aimed at different age groups. The first section is called Health Safari and is intended for Kindergarten and 1st graders. The second section, Me Mysteries, is for 2nd and 3rd graders, and the third section, Innerspace Adventure, is for 4th and 5th graders.

There is a different journal for each age group, but all the lessons are in the Parent Guide. This guide is colorful and eye catching. It was easy for me to find the place I needed to be and to quickly and easily pull the items I needed for the activity I wanted to do. I liked that they had all three levels together, because even though my kids are 4th and 5th graders, I did pull some activities from the lower levels that I thought they would enjoy and learn from.

Each Module is laid out the same way, with ten different sections

Parent Prep: gives you a heads up on the background of the lesson

Lesson at a Glance: a quick summary

Get Things Ready: lists everything you need to gather in order to teach the lesson, and includes a list of optional books just in case you want to use them

WAY Vocab Words: vocabulary words related to the lesson

What to Do: detailed instructions of what to do for each lesson with extra tips on how to include older or younger kids

Art Attack: an extra art activity for the kids to express what they are learning

Weekends with WAY: extensions to the lessons in order to draw out the learning about health and/ or share it with friends or family

Pray/ Reflect: Bible verses and inspirational quotes to help you add spiritual and moral values to the lessons

WAY More Resources: websites for additional resources

WAY More Fun: extra odds and ends to extend the fun

The DVD offers video clips that introduce each lesson and physical activity exercises that can easily be done in your home to keep your kids moving!

A major part of the program is the journaling the kids are expected to do. There is a different journal for each age group and they are consumable so you need one for each child. The first thing I noticed about the journals is that the covers are blank. This is so that the student can decorate it however they please. The journals provide a guided, age appropriate place for the student to record their learning adventure. The K -1st has a lot of coloring pages and drawing spaces while the 4th - 5th journal has plenty of notebook paper style pages for the kids to write on and the 2nd - 3rd book is a mix of the two.

This program was very easy to use. Everything I needed (except pencils and crayons etc.) were either in the box or in the Parent Guide. I was able to just open the guide and start teaching. We would spend a few minutes a day watching the videos, doing some exercises, playing some games, talking about our health and whether or not we made wise choices and journaling all our learning.

Abbie came to quite the realization when she used pennies and the scale to compare the calories she takes in with the exercise she gets. And I loved it because I didn't have to say a thing, she got it all on her own.

I thoroughly enjoyed using WAY Comes Home. It is a well thought out program and made it easy and fun for my kids (and me, too!) to learn more about nutrition, exercise and how to improve our health.

It's a perfect fit for early elementary kids. My middle school kids were always allowed to join in whenever they liked, but they mostly just hung around when we were working with the cool "toys" like the stethoscope and then wandered off when the real work began. It was almost too "young" for my fifth grader, but I was able to keep his interest in pretty much everything but the DVD segments. My fourth grader was all in and as you probably noticed from the pictures, the toddler that we babysit had his moments of participation as well. So this is clearly a program that includes the whole family in some way!

WAY Comes Home Kit Review

Crew Disclaimer

Aug 22, 2016

Our First Day in Pictures

The day started at 7am with the arrival of this smiling face:

After the rest of us got up, we gathered at the table for breakfast and a feast of reason (aka Morning Meeting). It took me until nearly 11am to actually finish that cup of sweetness and the toast.

When the kids got out their school boxes, they discovered pleasant surprises inside. I'm usually better at photographing this event, but there was a lot going on and I only got a couple of halfway decent pictures.

For posterity's sake I will record that Kaytie received a mini mechanical pencil and a soccer ball key chain. Nate got a peeper and a mechanical car. Daniel also had a car and a tiny rubber lizard. Abbie found a pink, monkey key chain and a pretty wooden top. Langston got a top. He found his in a sack because he doesn't have a school box. And everybody got snickers!

Then it was time for the traditional pictures!

He is holding Abbie's sign because he didn't have one. He isn't technically in a grade, but he had to have a sign if everyone else did!!!

After that, the day proceeded at a very fast pace.

keeping track of it all



more magnets





more math


We got everything done except for Nate starting writing and Daniel and Abbie's science experiments. No body cried, not even me. There were a few snarls when we realized that I hadn't proof-read the little kids' schedules and they were wrong. Kaytie also felt a weird urge to senselessly rearrange her schedule, but I quickly decided to just let that argument go. Whatever, Teenager, whatever! And Abbie did exclaim, "I! AM! FRUSTRATED!" but that, also, was easily smoothed over.

We also got lost on the way to Spanish, but that is really too regular of an occurrence, (getting lost, I mean) to be that much of a wrinkle in the day.

So all in all, it was a great first day back!!!

Aug 20, 2016

Back To School Pictures

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We will start our new year on Monday, so we took some time this week to go to our favorite nature place and take pictures.

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My oldest student is Kaytie. She is 13 and in 8th grade this year. She is collecting some high school credits, though. Her favorite school subjects are art, writing and literature

She is a quiet, thoughtful, rule-keeper. She can be trusted to get the job done as long as you aren't asking her to sleep, because she doesn't do much of that. Her favorite ways to spend a day are: reading, writing, and hanging around her friends. She is writing a lot of fan fiction for the Marvel Universe as well as some characters in a superhero universe that she, Nate, and her friends made up.

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Her more active interests are playing soccer, riding bikes, wrestling with her siblings, climbing trees, playing with the puppies and jumping on our trampoline.

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She also enjoys playing on the piano and creating art. She loves to draw, paint, sew, and sculpt. These days she is usually drawing cartoons to go with her superhero stories.

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Her hopes for the future include publishing her stories, being a missionary to children in South America, and sharing the love of God wherever she goes.

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Here's to a fun, busy, and successful year, Kaytie!!!

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Nate is next. He is 12 and in 7th grade. He is earning a high school credit this year, too. His favorite school subjects are science and computer coding.

He is a smart, funny, problem solver. He does not follow rules. He believes they are for people who can't figure out how to behave on their own. Since he, naturally, is wise and brilliant, he doesn't need those silly old rules, thank you very much. I have spent most of his life trying to convince him otherwise. Without much success.

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Nate's main interest is technology. He loves computers, electronics and all things that require the pushing of buttons. He also loves to read, to obsess over his current interests, to think, and to talk.

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His outside interests include soccer, puppies, bikes, climbing trees, fishing, and observing nature, particularly insects and birds. 

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His plans for the future include working with computers (hopefully Google), making a lot of money, having a lot of kids, and investing in his family.

Here's to a successful, learning-filled, exciting year, Nate!

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Daniel is my third student. He is 10 and in 5th grade. His favorite school subjects are art and math.

He is my sensitive little thinker. He loves to design, to build, and, because he is 100% little boy, to destroy in the most dramatic way possible. He loves intensely, thinks hard, and is always, always, busy doing something.

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He spends his time building with Lego, taking apart dead electronics to recreate them in interesting ways, digging in the dirt, drawing, folding paper airplanes, and trying to talk me into letting him play with fire.

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His active interests are soccer, running, playing with Abbie and the puppies, wrestling, getting wet and/or dirty in the most creative ways possible, climbing trees, riding bikes, shooting Nerf guns and who even knows what else.

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His plans for the future include architecture, engineering, cooking, and lots of good eating!!!

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Here's to a great last year in elementary, Daniel! May you soar to great heights in all your learning adventures!

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And finally, there's Abbie. She is 9 and in 4th grade. Her favorite school subjects are art and science.

She is our twirling, sparkling, fierce little butterfly. She exudes sunshine and merriness until you rile her, and then watch out! She is a girly little tomboy, the kind of girl that pauses in the middle of painting her nails to pick up wild lizards. She adores fuzzy, cute animals of all kinds and has a super large soft spot for anything small and/or defenseless.

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She enjoys art, Barbies, reading easy chapter books, and playing quietly alone in her room.

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Her active interests are soccer, riding bikes, playing outside, jumping, wrestling with her siblings and the puppies, climbing trees, and getting very, very dirty.

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Her plans for the future include being a small animal veterinarian, and owning lots and lots of cuddly pets.

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Here's to a dazzling, sparkling, fun-filled year of lots of science experiments, Abbie!

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I'm very excited about this year!!! I'm expecting it to be our best year yet!

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